North Korea responds to UN on runaway US soldier Travis King


After weeks of silence, North Korea has recognized official outreach regarding the status of Pvt. Travis King, the U.S. soldier believed to be in its custody after “willfully” crossing the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

Background: King, 23, ran past the demarcation line into North Korea during a civilian tour at the DMZ on July 18.

After an assault conviction in South Korea, he is facing disciplinary action in the U.S. and was scheduled to return the day before the tour; however, King claimed that he had lost his passport. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed that King crossed the border “willfully and without authorization.”

The latest: North Korea, which has no diplomatic ties to the U.S., responded to the inquiry from the United Nations Command, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday. The matter is reportedly under investigation, but Pyongyang offered no further details.

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“There was the initial passing of the information, and this was essentially an acknowledgement from the DPRK government that yes, we have received your request for information,” Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters. “I can confirm that the DPRK has responded to United Nations Command, but I don’t have any substantial progress to read out.”

What’s being done: The UNC is expected to continue communications with North Korea. Meanwhile, U.S. counterintelligence is conducting a joint investigation with U.S. Forces Korea on the matter.

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